To ensure your watch holds its value and keeps its accuracy, here are the simple, daily measures to maintain your watch’s condition internally and externally.
Wind mechanical watches once a day.
The power reserve on a mechanical watch is usually one to two days, so you must wind it manually every day—unless you have automatic power reserve (see below). This keeps your watch functioning properly.
If your mechanical watch has an automatic power reserve, it winds itself with the movement of your arms throughout the day. It requires 10-12 hours of normal day wear for the watch’s power reserve to last through the night. If come morning you do need to wind your watch, you’ll need to do so manually.
Remove your watch before winding it.
If you leave your watch on, you risk winding your watch at an awkward angle and, in turn, damaging the internal components and potentially loosening the crown. Do not overwind your watch. When your watch is adequately wound, you’ll feel resistance. Stop as soon as you feel this. Over-winding your watch could damage it.
Do not set a mechanical watch between 9PM and 2AM.
If your watch has a complication that needs to be set (like the date), it is usually a straightforward process: the quick set function will allow you to wind the watch’s date without having to wind the minute hands around the full 24 hours over and over again. That said, you do not want to set the date between the hours of 9PM and 2AM, because, although you may only see the date change over at midnight, the mechanism of the watch is actually turning over the date those four hours between 9PM and 2AM. Therefore you risk damaging the movement if you quick set the date during that window of time.
For any watches that stopped between 9 and 2 but you don’t know if that’s AM or PM, advance the watch until the date changes so you know it’s now midnight on your watch. Then use the quick set function to safely set the date.
Prepare for water sports.
You know better than to wear an expensive watch to the beach but, hey, it happens—especially when the watch feels like an extension of your arm. So be sure to clean your timepiece thoroughly after a day on the sand or poolside. Chlorine, salt and sand can damage the inner components. And if you have a water resistant watch, double-check the crown is pushed all the way in before diving in.
Avoid extreme temperatures.
Yes, mountaineer Edmund Hillary was wearing a Rolex Explorer when he became the first man to successfully summit Mount Everest in 1953. But that doesn’t mean you should venture into frigid weather while wearing your Rolex. Avoid exposing your watch to temperatures below 32 degrees and above 140 degrees Fahrenheit (think saunas or direct and prolonged sunlight). The temperature shock can damage your timepiece.